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Birmingham detective in critical condition following mid-robbery shooting

Det. John Finke (Source: Birmingham Police Department)
Det. John Finke (Source: Birmingham Police Department)

Narcotics Detective John Finke is recovering in the intensive care unit after being shot.

Posted: Jan 26, 2020 7:27 PM
Updated: Jan 27, 2020 11:06 AM

A Birmingham police officer is in critical condition after he was shot multiple times while responding to a robbery on Sunday morning.

Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said narcotics Detective John Finke was working off-duty as a security guard for Church of the Highlands when a call came in about a nearby robbery around 9 a.m.

Chief Smith said Det. Finke was shot twice in the stomach and once under the arm after he "may have observed the robbery in progress."

Smith said Det. Finke returned fire, but did not hit the suspects who were later taken into custody after an extensive manhunt. They were identified as a 16-year-old and a 25-year-old.

Two phones that were stolen during the robbery were tracked to one of the suspects. Officers recovered a handgun from that person. A second suspect was arrested later on Sunday.

The pastor of Church of the Highlands said Det. Finke provided security for the church for eight years.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Officer John Finke who has served our church for 8 years at our Woodlawn campus. He was critically injured today after responding to an incident in the Woodlawn community... Please join us in praying for Officer Finke's full recovery and for peace and comfort for his family," said Pastor Chris Hodges in a statement.

Det. Finke had surgery Sunday morning and is recovering in the intensive care unit. 

U.S. Attorney Jay Town, who works in Birmingham, released a statement Sunday evening on the shooting:

"This tragedy is a heartbreaking reminder of the dangers all law enforcement face. While they keep us safe. While they do the job. Our thoughts and prayers are with Detective Finke, his family, and all of Birmingham PD. We should never forget that the line of duty is endowed by sacrifice, selflessness, and courage."

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin also released a statement on Twitter:

"Tonight, we wrap our arms around officer John Finke, his family and the entire BPD. Our officers risk their lives every time they step out of their doors for the betterment of our communities. We thank them for their commitment. Bham stands with you as we pray for a full recovery."

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